Cassia Instead of Henna?

Hola Chicas,

It's Thursday FRIDAY which means we've officially taken over Essence for the day!

¡Viva la RevoluciĆ³n!

Check out my latest installment, where I discuss the differences between Cassia and Henna and the pros of cons of embarking on a Cassia journey! Head over there and check it out!
Thanks divas!

Later Gators,

The Two Step Henna + Indigo Process

by Shelli of Hairscapades

It’s finally here!! The highly anticipated (by, like, two people) tutorial for my two-step henna/indigo process!! LOL! I did a treatment this Sunday and photo-documented it for this post. I explained most of my process in my Henna and Me “interview.” So, a lot of this will be a repeat of that information. However, it’ll be bulleted and accompanied with pretty pictures and a little more detail ;) . First though, here are a couple of notes about modifications I’ve made to my henna treatments due to my preferences and my hair’s needs:

  • I use henna alone on the front half of my head so that my grey hair becomes fiery red highlights.
  • I do a two-step henna/indigo on the back half of my head so that that hair is black (I don’t like “highlights” in the back as I think they look less intentional and also make my hair look finer, whereas the black makes it look denser in my opinion).
  • I don’t apply henna to my nape hair as that area is almost bone straight and very fine. Henna completely obliterates any wave/curl it might have.
  • I use what CurlyNikki dubbed a Conditioning Henna Treatment. That is, I mix a full batch of henna, allow full dye release and add conditioner to make it easier to apply and rinse. This differentiates my process from a “true” henna gloss since I mix a full batch of henna and allow dye release. It is also different from a full strength henna, because I add conditioner to “dilute” the thickness of the henna. However, I’ve done full strength treatments and see no appreciable difference in the results.
  • I only apply henna to my “roots” now (the first 3-6 inches of hair) as too many applications on the same hair loosens my hair significantly. I try to get about 3 applications on “new hair.”
  • I sometimes apply henna to wet hair and sometimes to dry. These are instructions to my “dry” henna routine. The only difference with my “wet” routine is that I’ll usually have pre-pooed and lightly finger detangled my hair with Vatika oil. Then, I’ll shampoo with either diluted Ion Curls Shampoo or Deva Care No Poo.

With that, here we go!

Ingredients and Supplies

Henna Mix
200g Henna (100g Jamila or Rajasthani Twilight; 100g Dulhan)
4 tea bags of green tea
3 cups filtered or distilled water
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 cups Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm

Indigo Mix
50g Indigo
Salt (a pinch)

Plastic or glass liquids measuring cup
Large glass jar/container (large enough to hold 3 c. of water)
Plastic or wooden spoon
Medium to large plastic or glass bowl with top
Plastic gloves
4 medium-sized plastic jaw clips
Plastic wrap
Plastic cap
Paper towels or cotton balls
Heat wrap, winter hat or bonnet dryer (hard or soft)
Old towels and/or newspaper (to protect basement floor/sink)
Old and/or black tee-shirt and pants/shorts
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH) (for henna/indigo rinsing)
Slippery and Moisturizing Deep Conditioner (JessiCurl Weekly Deep Conditioner or Darcy Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner)

*no metal containers or utensils

My Process

The Henna Mix

  • Bring 3 cups of distilled or filtered water to a boil and then brew 3-4 green tea bags. Cool to warm/room temp.
  • Pour 2 boxes of henna powder into large glass bowl and gradually stir in cooled tea with a plastic or wood spoon until the texture of a thick batter (I usually need about 2, 2 1/2 cups. I brew 3 cups of tea to make certain that I have enough).

  • Cover bowl with top (I cover the henna with plastic wrap first, sealing out most of the air, then cover with the top).
  • Allow henna to sit in a cool, dry, dark place for 12 hours for dye release.
  • After dye release, I split the henna into half, and wrap one half in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, seal it in a freezer and then place it in the freezer (frozen then thawed henna has even better dye release).

  • After dye release, I mix in about 2 tbsp of honey and 3/4 c. of Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm (I never measure these, I just eyeball it). This makes the “batter” thinner (but not drippy) and more like the consistency of Greek yogurt.

The Prep

  • Protect bathroom surfaces, including floors, sink and door, with old towels and/or newspaper.
  • Don old clothes.
  • Divide dry hair into four sections/quadrants and use round-teeth jaw clips (less snag prone) to secure the front two sections and one rear section to keep them out of the way (More sections may be necessary if you have thicker hair).
  • Don plastic gloves (unless you like orange hands and nails;).

The Henna Application

  • Finger part and apply henna thickly to first 6 inches or so of of dry* hair, section by section, starting with back sections first and then applying to front (Again, I don’t apply henna to my nape hair). Ensure hair is completely coated in henna.
  • Mix 2 tsp of remaining henna into another 3/4 c. of Sally’s GVP Conditioning Balm to make a henna gloss.
  • Apply to remaining “un-hennaed” hair (I do this as I don’t like the idea of my dry hair under heat, so I put conditioner on it to get a deep treatment. I add leftover henna if I have it).
  • Place hair on top of head, securing with round-tooth jaw clip.
  • Wrap head in plastic wrap, wrap cotton balls or paper towel around edges to catch drippies, don plastic cap.
  • Allow henna to sit for 4 hours (I apply a heat source [winter hat, heat wrap or bonnet dryer] for 2-4 hours to increase speed of dye release and enhance amount of dye uptake).
  • Fill tub with enough water to cover head, put gloves back on and dunk hair to loosen and remove majority of henna.
  • Gently rinse remaining henna from hair under faucet stream (do not try to detangle at this juncture).

The Indigo Mix**

  • Pour 50g of indigo into glass bowl and add a pinch of salt to enhance dye uptake and color retention (several shakes of the salt shaker).
  • Mix in enough lukewarm/room temp distilled/filtered water to make indigo into a thick paste (indigo is grittier than henna).
  • Put gloves back on and apply indigo to first 6 inches of back half of hair until fully covered.
  • Wrap head in plastic wrap, don plastic cap and apply heat for one hour.
  • Hop in shower and rinse henna and gently finger detangle hair with lots of HE HH (usually takes about three rinses).

**Indigo needs henna to “stick” to the hair. So, henna must be applied first and then indigo to dye hair black. The dye in indigo releases immediately and expires rapidly. So, it should only be mixed right before application and leftovers should be discarded as indigo can’t be stored once it’s been mixed. Indigo powder should be stored in a cool, dry place. Do not freeze indigo powder as it will kill the dye molecule.

The Finish

  • Apply moisturizing deep conditioner (Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner this time), don plastic cap and apply heat for at least one hour (I sometimes sleep in my DC overnight, but am trying to not do that as often anymore given my realization that my hair was over-conditioned).
  • Cool, seal, finger detangle and rinse (click here for my DC rinsing technique).
  • Apply leave-in and style as desired.

So, that is the very detailed blow-by-blow of my process!

Do you use Henna and Indigo? What's your process?

Initial Thoughts on Rajasthani Twilight Henna...

vagabond chic?

Hola Chicas,

Okay, so this is long over due, but y'all know how much I hate giving premature reviews of products. I take this ish seriously!

If you remember, on September 3rd (has it really been almost 2 weeks?), I tried Mehandi's Rajasthani Twilight in hopes that it was in the running to replace the Jamila. My beloved brand has become increasingly more difficult to find and Catherine of Mehandi shared that the pesticide levels can run a bit high. That, plus (and probably most important) I'm a friggin' PJ and always on the lookout for the next best thing.

We started off on the good foot... it was very creamy and easy to apply, but for some reason I had a difficult time rinsing. Like so hard that I called it quits and re-washed, with shampoo, which I NEVER do, the next morning. Granted, I was PMS'ing, Gia was acting a donkey, and my hot water runs cold after 15 minutes, but still, me no likey. Side note, there's nothing worse than standing in the shower, all lathered up, conditioner in hair, razor in hand and the water temperature plummets. On the flip side, I suppose I always end with the prescribed 'cold water rinse'.

Anyway, after the initial rinse, a deep treatment, and a second rinse, I got out of the shower, blotted the excess moisture and applied my leave-in and oil. My hair felt slightly gritty and although I could see some bits of stuff at my roots, I was going to try to work with it. But everytime I grabbed a section to put in a Curlformer, I'd pull away with what felt (and looked) like sand on my hands. I think I had around 10 rollers in when I said fugget it, pulled them out, bunned it, and called it one. The next day I got up, rinsed again, detangled the matted bun and put in the Curlformers. And even with all of that, I'm going to give Rajasthani another try. Why? Because this was one trial and I actually had a similar fluky experience with the Jamila a while back. Plus, the stain was off the chain (haha) and after the second rinse, my hair felt and looked amazing.

So yeah, there you go. Sorry for the vagueness or inconclusive results. I'll definitely report back later this month or the next with a 'more informed' review of this new henna.

For the past 10 days my stretched hair was in two (half ass) flat twists pinned up. Very frumpy, exacerbated by the fact that I can't actually flat twist, but it worked. I'd take the twists down, re-moisturize, seal and pin them back up. I've been feeling some kinda way lately but now that the sun has come back to visit, I'm smiling again :)

This morning, before heading out, I put my hair in the usual 10 or 11 twists and threw on the hat.

oh and pssst.... I gotta secret...

NYC. October 20th. Yep yeppers.

Hair Today- Twist-Out, Henna & Black Cinema

Hola Chicas,

Believe it or not, a football game shut the entire city down and I'm currently held up in my house. With groceries (and wine) fully stocked and movies on deck, I'm hereby proclaiming it... Henna Saturday!

I just took down my twists... been in them since the last post--

if you click on the pic to blow it up, and look at the front right,
near my face, you can see what henna does to my grays... that one anyway.

The mix--

200g of Rajasthani Twilight
1.5-2 cups of warm Green Tea
Honey (a tablespoon or so)

The Plan--

I will whip it up and immediately apply to my dry, detangled hair and commence resume wine drinking and movie watching. I'll probably rinse and DT tomorrow morning.

The Random--

Growing up in a Catholic household, I was very VERY sheltered and missed much, if not all of 1985-1995 Black cinema. Shocked and disappointed, hubby has slowly been introducing me to the classics, and as of this year, I can say that I've seen Higher Learning, Boomerang, Sprung, Juice, Boyz n the Hood, and Dead Presidents (just saw this one last weekend)! Um... why do I have a thing for Chris Tucker? WTH?! Anyway, I hope to apply for my Black Card after checking out Harlem Nights this evening.

What movies do I need to add to my MUST SEE list?

What are you doing to your hair this holiday weekend?

For the Henna Heads- I Re-Upped!

after a henna treatment in May

Hola Chicas,

I'm officially restocked! I wrote in to Catherine at inquiring about all the emails I'd received from you gals this past year detailing your inability to get your hands on my beloved and highly recommended BAQ Jamila Henna (the kind in the foil wrapping). I also wanted deets on the best of the best crop she had in stock... I've been out of the game for a minute and need to play catch up.

Catherine shared a ton, but the gist is that Mehandi is now having their henna's lawsone and pesticide content independently tested and she wasn't impressed with Jamila's results. Apparently their lawsone content- the dye molecule that gives us our amazing results- is unpredictable and the pesticide levels are frequently higher than other hennas due to blowover from nearby cotton farming. Jamila, you're on notice!

So with that, she's since been exploring other options and has brought in several new crops from other areas. The Rajasthani Twilight came highly recommended with one of the highest lawsone contents (2.9%), silky texture (which means easily applied and rinsed), and fine sift. I purchased a kilo (hehe, a kilo) and was gifted 500g of a different Jamila crop to test. So yeah, I'm good... for a while. I'll be back soon with reviews!



Where are you getting your henna from? What's your favorite brand right now and why?

Cassia and Natural Hair

The winner is...

Anon July 27 1:34pm

Email me with your name and address so I can get your goodies in the mail!

Below is a re-post from early 2009. Lately, I've been receiving tons of inquires about Cassia... as well as questions about using henna without a change in color. Hopefully this will clear up any confusion!

Anonymous writes:

Hey Nikki!

I know you're a Henna girl, but I saw your comment for one of your pictures, and you mentioned using Cassia. I'm curious about henna but there are a few things that have me nervous about taking the plunge to try it, one of them is the coloring effects. I know Cassia is supposed to be similar without altering hair color, if you don't mind, can you share your experience with Cassia?
Thanks a bunch!

CN Responds;

I tried cassia about 4 times before moving on to henna. Initially, like you, I was afraid of the red color, especially since I had a considerable amount of brown highlights throughout- I wasn't going for 'fire engine red'.

Again, henna red is translucent. I liken it to coloring on a black (or brown) sheet of construction paper with a reddish-orange crayon. In most lighting, the paper sill looks black, just shinier. However, if you hold it just right under the light, or step outside, you can see the hint of color. It's the same with my hair. Indoors, the hair is a shiny, rich, black, but outside it looks as if I did an auburn rinse. For my brown haired curlies, your hair will appear auburn, no matter the lighting. So, if you're still reluctant about that red tint, Cassia may be the answer.

Cassia is similar to henna...although it's a different plant altogether, it has some of the same conditioning effects, sans color. Like henna, cassia strengthens the hair shaft, improves overall health, and adds lots of shine. It doesn't, however, reduce shrinkage or drastically thicken the hair up. It's effects are far more fleeting- lasting at the most 1-2 weeks. The mixing, application, and rinsing process is a bit less taxing as well. For starters, you don't have to wear gloves! Also, you only have to leave it in for 30 minutes to get the conditioning effects. Since you're not worried about dye release, you can mix in everything but the kitchen sink- I used to mix in oils, conditioner, and honey. Some blonde and gray haired ladies use Cassia for the slight yellow tint that it gives off. If you have dark hair, you don't have to worry about this effect.

I left cassia for henna for one reason- I wanted bigger hair. I didn't, and still don't mind the red. You're going to get improved hair health with both cassia and henna, but henna's effects will last upwards of 3-4 weeks, depending on how often you wash.

In my honest opinion, Cassia is just a REALLY good conditioning treatment.

Good luck!

Have you used Cassia? Share your experiences below...

... and win 200g of Mehandi's Cassia from my personal stash!

The contest will close tomorrow at 5pm EST. At that time, a winner will be randomly chosen and announced soon thereafter!

Good Luck!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...